Munoz: When a juvenile is alleged to have committed a crime, in juvenile court it’s called a delinquent act. That’s what it’s called. They have different terminology in juvenile court because it’s meant to be a comfortable environment that does not scare the juvenile. Court can be pretty scary.
A crime in juvenile court is called a delinquent act. When you go to court, instead of the court hearing being called a pre-trial conference, it’s called a pre-adjudication hearing. Then a trial in juvenile court is called an adjudication hearing. If you’re convicted of a crime in juvenile court, it’s called being found delinquent.
Interviewer: I see.
Munoz: Being incarcerated is called detention. There is a whole different terminology in juvenile court. For some attorneys who have never practiced there, the terminology can be very confusing if you don’t have any experience in the juvenile court system.
Interviewer: Now I know where the term juvenile delinquent comes from.
Juvenile Courts In The State Of Arizona
Interviewer: What are the names of the juvenile courts in Arizona in the areas that you practice?
Munoz: The major juvenile court system here in Arizona, is essentially the Maricopa County Superior Court and then they have a Juvenile Court Division, within the court. You also have the Pinal Superior Court; which has a juvenile court system. Maricopa County and Pinal are probably the busiest ones around that we are in that I practice in. Most city courts in Arizona do not have juvenile court systems. They leave that up to Maricopa County to handle that.
Interviewer: It’s not a separate building and separate judges?
Munoz: No. The Maricopa County Superior Court has judges that are assigned to a juvenile division. They have their own courthouse, their own detention facility and it’s completely separate.
Juvenile Detention Centers In The State Of Arizona
Interviewer: That’s what I wanted to know. The courts are the same. How about the juvenile detention centers? Are there a lot of centers, and do they have names, and where are they located?
Munoz: At the detention center, the juveniles are in a more comfortable environment. They’re in rooms, which I wouldn’t call cells. They’re just more comfortable, they go to class while they are in detention so they’re still be educated. They read books. They have group meetings with the other minors that are in detention.
It’s a very different situation. As an adult, if you’re in custody while you’re waiting for your case to be resolved, you are likely going to be in the Maricopa County Jail. This jail is not a very fun environment.